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The uncertain location of electrons - George Zaidan and Charles Morton

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The tiny atoms that make up our world are made up of even tinier protons, neutrons and electrons. Though the number of protons determines an atom's identity, it’s the electrons -- specifically, their exact location outside the nucleus -- that particularly perplex scientists. George Zaidan and Charles Morton show how to make an educated guess of where those itty-bitty freewheeling electrons might be.

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TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator George Zaidan, Charles Morton
  • Artist Harj Bains
  • Animator Henry Chung, Rob Thomson
  • Composer Graham Silcock
  • Narrator George Zaidan

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Just how small are atoms? And what's inside them? The answers turn out to be astounding, even for those who think they know. This fast-paced animation uses spectacular metaphors (imagine a blueberry the size of a football stadium!) to give a visceral sense of the building blocks that make our world.
Here are some good, detailed resources on atoms:
http://www.chemguide.co.uk/atoms/properties/atomorbs.html#top
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/chemistry/5-112-principles-of-chemical-science-fall-2005/video-lectures/lecture-6-schroedinger-equation-for-h-atom/
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/chemistry/5-112-principles-of-chemical-science-fall-2005/video-lectures/lecture-7-hydrogen-atom-wavefunctions/
An atom smasher, or particle accelerator, collides atomic nuclei together at extremely high energies, using engineering that exploits incredibly cold temperatures, very low air pressure, and hyperbolically fast speeds. Don Lincoln explains how scientists harness the power of both electric and magnetic fields to smash atoms, eventually leading to major discoveries about the matter in our universe.

What do macaroni salad and gasoline have in common? They are made of exactly the same stuff -- specifically, the same atoms, just rearranged. So, while we put the former in our mouths and the latter in our cars, they are really just variations on the same atomic theme. Josh Kurz breaks macaroni salad down to its smallest chemical components.
How did the periodic table of elements revolutionize our understanding of the world? What scientists contributed to the table we have today? Eric Rosado discusses the key people and discoveries that have molded our understanding of chemistry today.
Here's a video for every element on the periodic table of elements.
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TED-Ed
Lesson Creator
New York, NY
From what you’ve learned of the quantum model of the atom (see the links above), would you agree with this statement? Or would you qualify it in some way? Can an electron go anywhere it wants around the nucleus?
10/14/2013 • 
 7 Responses
 / 7 Updates

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator George Zaidan, Charles Morton
  • Artist Harj Bains
  • Animator Henry Chung, Rob Thomson
  • Composer Graham Silcock
  • Narrator George Zaidan

Share

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